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County Board delays wind farm moratorium decision

For multiple weeks now, the concerned citizens of Nemaha County have been attending the County Commission meetings on a weekly basis, with the hopes of learning new information on the proposed wind farm in Nemaha County. At the Monday, Feb. 11, meeting, Commissioner Gary Scoby informed those present that they are still in negotiations with NextEra Energy on a term sheet.

“We hope to have something by Feb. 19,” Scoby said. “Hopefully.”

The commissioners did, however, address the topic of a signing a moratorium resolution, which would put the project on pause for 60 days. At last week’s meeting, it was requested by Will Eisenbise and Brad Lueger – two representatives for the concerned citizens group of Nemaha County – for the commissioners to give a response to the moratorium resolution in one week. Scoby said that the commission will not be making a decision on a moratorium yet.

“Just to address the moratorium issue and the request for us to take action, we were advised by counsel, that if we were to do that, it would need to be after a public input hearing, which will occur sometime,” Scoby said.

“The plan is to negotiate in good faith and arrive at a term sheet,” said County Attorney Brad Lippert. “Then once we have our public comment session on that term sheet, we can take public comments on the issue of the moratorium as well.”

Lori Menold – a registered nurse in Nemaha County – presented letters from three Nemaha County physicians – Dr. Jarod Snyder M.D., Dr. Angela Stueve M.D. and Dr. William Bartkoski D.O., who were in favor of the moratorium, which would allow more time to look at the health effects, as well as ensure that there is a solid emergency response plan in place.

Galen Ackerman also handed out the updated House Bill draft, that was presented last week. According to Ackerman, this Bill will be named the Wind Generation Permit and Property Protection Act.

Scoby said he spoke with their counsel at the Kansas Association of Counties about the Bill.

“This is the draft copy, and it will be revised by Friday, Feb. 15,” he said.

The commissioner have scheduled another meeting with their hired attorney James Neeld for 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. Lippert said this meeting will also be held in executive session, and there will not be any public comments taken.

The commissioners will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 19, with public wind farm discussion taking place at 10 a.m.